IRVINGTON, NJ – Go West, young men.
Orange High School seniors Nigil Thomas and Trevion Thomas, no relation, both signed letters of intent on National Signing Day, Feb. 6 in accepting athletic scholarships to New Mexico Highlands University to play football.
Nigil is a linebacker, while Trevion will play cornerback. Trevion also played on offense for the Tornadoes as a running back.
The two signed their letters during a ceremony at OHS, joined by OHS coaches, including head coach Randy Daniel and defensive coordinator Carlos Hawkins, family members, friends and administrators.
New Mexico Highlands, located in Las Vegas, N.M., competes on the NCAA Division II level.
The two players joined senior teammate Nyquee Hawkins, Carlos’ son, in signing football scholarships. Hawkins, a 4-star cornerback, signed with Virginia Tech in December.
Nigil and Trevion helped the Tornadoes to a successful 6-4 season last fall. OHS just missed qualifying for the Group 4 state sectional playoffs.
Nigil said he is excited to attend New Mexico Highlands.
“New Mexico Highlands is just a great place,” Nigil said. “The coaches showed me a lot of love out of all the schools who recruited me. I felt it was the best fit for me. It’s a place where I can just focus on school and football and not have any distractions.”
Nigil came away very impressed with the school on his visit.
“My first impression of New Mexico Highlands is what I expected – just a lot of land until I got on campus, which is very nice and the people there made you feel welcomed as if you were family, which played a big part of my recruiting process because I am a family guy.”
Nigil is also looking forward to continuing to play with Trevion Thomas.
“Trevion is a great player,” Nigil said. ”It’s gonna be fun playing with him again. We’re gonna be on each other out there, but we both know we (are) on a mission, so our goal is to compete for a starting job our freshman year.”
Nigil will always cherish his time at OHS. His favorite memory was the win over Nutley in his sophomore year when he made a pivotal tackle late in the game.
“I have a lot of memories at Orange High School, but my favorite is my sophomore year. We played Nutley. It was 1:00 on the clock. They were on the 40-yard line, third down, trying to get the first. The slot(back) came across. I was playing outside linebacker. Next thing you know, I just hit him and we won the game. The crowd went crazy. Everybody heard about it. Teachers and students came up to me the whole week, saying I was a great player. Mostly everyone in the city knew about it, so I had a little fame. Still to this day, people talk about it.”